21. Are you unique or the same as everyone else? ------------------------ Previous - Next - Contents

In a general sense I believe that there are two extreme positions from which to see oneself in this world :

  1. as the same to every other human being in this world
    The person who sees him/herself as the same as everybody else, will be competitive as main means of his/her self expression.   He/she cannot be different and therefore tries to be better in order to differentiate him/herself from the others.

  2. or as a truly unique being
    The person who considers him/herself as unique will not follow this same path, for one can not compare an apple with an orange. The unique person expresses him/herself therefore by being creative. Nobody can compare with that, because he/she is unique.

We all are of course a little bit of both.
Most of us do not feel being 100% one or the other of above two extreme cases, but a mixture of both. Some may be close to the left on the Diagram below (predominantly creative), others more towards the right (predominantly competitive), and others again may be balanced somewhere near the middle.

Diagram 1

There is yet another aspect to be considered in this context. How intense are we in the conduct of our life and especially in our need for self expression.
An obsessed painter like Vincent van Gogh was probably 100% full on in his creative drive. So may well be top performing athletes, like Lance Armstrong and others in terms of their extreme competitiveness. But most of us are not like that.   (I am not suggesting that very competitive people are not creative. They often must be to succeed, but their creativeness is secondary and in support of their real aim : winning!)

I have attempted to incorporate this aspect in the triangular Diagram below.
From the top left 100% Intensive Unique point a line of gradually decreasing Creative intensities slopes down towards the 0% Intensity point at the base point of the triangle.
Likewise the line sloping down from the top right 100% Intensity point defines gradually declining Intensities of Competitiveness.
As the Intensity decreases (towards 0%) both creative and competitive forces become less pronounced and move closer together. The 0% Intensity point at the base of the Diagram represents the attitude of total indifference.

Diagram 2

I consider myself to be very close to the Creative sloping line on the left, sometimes high on the upper portion of the line, or, during other periods in my life more subdued and near the 50% point.   (I have at times been pretty full on, and it was in fact my depressed nature when not able to be creative as a geologist which was the cause of a dramatic change towards a completely new life.)

So dear reader : Where do you see yourself in above Diagram ?
Remember you can position yourself anywhere within the grey triangle and need not be right on either one of the sloping lines.

Vincent van Gogh One final point.
I personally felt initially rather insecure in my "uniqueness". However as one gets older, accepts this fact and behaves accordingly one inevitably becomes more and more confident in oneself.
On the other side of the scale however strong competitiveness can create or be based on insecurity. It is the Law of Evolution all over : "survival of the fittest". As long as one competes and stays on top everything is fine but when this ceases trouble may start.
We see that with quite a few athletes, who after their retirement get themselves into an emotional or mental down spin. They suddenly feel they have become a nobody. I believe it is not until they start to recognise their own uniqueness that they truly rebuild there self confidence. (Some of them have of course no problem with that as they become celebrated TV commentators etc.).

Creativity and competitiveness are not just confined to art and sport of course, but can thrive in any environment. My father for example was a highly creative business man. He had to be competitive too, but it was largely to sustain his creative and innovative objectives.

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Copyright © 2010 Michael Furstner